How to Become a Manager (Without Experience)

Enhance your leadership and management career with a widely recognised CMI qualification.

These days it can seem impossible to land a great management job without having the appropriate qualifications or experience to prove your competence and showcase your knowledge. 

Now we know what you’re thinking: “How am I supposed to kickstart my management career without having any previous work experience listed on my CV?” 

Well, what if we told you that there are plenty of ways to gain management experience without actually being a manager? Keep reading to find out just how that is possible. 

1) Ask to lead a project

If you want to become a manager but don’t have any relevant experience under your belt, then perhaps the first thing you should do is ask if you can lead a project in your current job.

Leading a project undoubtedly requires the development of managerial-relevant skills such as:

  • Planning
  • Good organisation
  • Setting realistic goals
  • Leading and supporting people through the project
  • Managing with ease competing priorities

Not only that, but when leading a project it’s also important to coordinate communication amongst a group of people. 

However, if you don’t have any project management experience either, this can be a little bit tricky, so, you need to be realistic with your ambitions and start off by volunteering to lead something small such as a low-priority internal project of your company.

If that seems like too much pressure for you, you can volunteer to plan office events and work socials. This can offer you extraordinary visibility and the workplace recognition you need to advance in your career. 

2) Train, coach and mentor a teammate 

All adequate managers must be able to effectively develop their teams. They should know how to onboard and train their employees, while being the person people go to for advice and guidance.

A good idea would be to position yourself as someone who can help train and support new team members, if you have no experience in a managerial position. Certainly, to even be considered for this, you must make sure you’re an expert in your role and have good relationships and an excellent reputation around your organisation. 

Then, if your company offers a mentorship programme you should consider volunteering, as it will help you build on important management skills like providing feedback, active listening and resolving conflicts. 

Not only that but volunteering to mentor new team members will showcase your passion through guiding employees and the organisation as a whole in the right direction, eventually reaching organisational objectives successfully.

What sets apart an exceptional manager from a mediocre one is the ability to motivate and inspire and motivate employees, and bring out their best self.

3) Take initiatives and support your supervisor 

This goes without saying, but taking initiative and showing your willingness to take on more than what was assigned to you can help you learn and build managerial skills.

So, what you can do in your current job is to offer your manager assistance with some of their simple tasks and responsibilities such as creating a schedule or taking over a low-importance presentation. 

Essentially, don’t wait around for opportunities to come your way. Create your own opportunities. And if there aren’t any that have come up? Then reflect on yourself and the areas you can improve on, and start off from there. 

This will definitely help set you apart from those who don’t display the same willingness  to take on more than what's required from them when the time for a promotion comes around. 

4) Identify and highlight your transferable skills 

As you are probably already aware, every task a manager does, requires a unique combination of skills in order to successfully carry the task through. For example, managing people is much more than just overseeing staff and how they’re getting on with their tasks. It can involve things such as:

  • knowing about how to train and coach staff, 
  • delivering presentations, 
  • analysing data, 
  • hiring and recruiting new team members,
  • managing potential conflicts, and 
  • creating schedules.

It’s more than likely that you would have already had exposure to a number of managerial skills, so sit down and try to identify them. Then you can retool your resume to target specifically management jobs, by tailoring the language to highlight the relevant transferable skills you can bring to the position.

5) Invest in Upskilling with a Professional Qualification 

Can’t identify any transferable skills you have and mentoring opportunities in your organisation are scarce? Well if you are determined and serious about becoming a manager then investing in upskilling with a professional qualification is the best way to go if you have no previous management experience. 

Nowadays there’s a plethora of courses for you to choose from, whether that may be an online, in-person, or blended learning approach, it really has never been easier to find a course tailored around your lifestyle, accommodating both your personal and professional obligations.

There are numerous globally recognised management qualifications who can enrol in, depending on the industry and career path you’d like to follow. These include:

  • PRINCE2® Project Management Qualifications

    If you are interested in following a project management path, then the PRINCE2 qualifications are the way to go!

    The PRINCE2 method is the most widely used project management framework around the world, so having these qualifications in your back pocket can help open many doors for your project management career. Along with that, the PRINCE2 6th Edition qualifications are ideal if you’re looking to become a registered PRINCE2 Practitioner. 
  • The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) Qualifications

    Incorporated under a Royal Charter, with over 100,000 professional members internationally, CMI is the only organisation worldwide that can award Chartered Manager status.

    Through studying CMI, you’ll develop the core skills required from a competent manager, along with gaining high-level strategic knowledge and expertise you’ll need to climb the management ladder and seek leadership opportunities.

    With qualification levels ranging from Level 2 to Level 8, CMI qualification levels correspond to the difficulty of the qualification, so the higher the number, the more advanced the qualification is.

Find out more about the CMI qualification we have on offer here.

Remember that taking the initiative to upskill with a professional qualification proves your dedication and commitment to the role, while also, unquestionably, impressing your current and prospective employer. 

Overall, having confidence in your ability to apply transferable skills to your current and future roles, along with taking initiatives towards your continuing professional development (CPD) are essential in helping you grow into a proficient manager. 

Looking to enhance your management career? Enrol today on a 100% online CMI qualification and watch your career grow.